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Jhirna Jali. PETER CAELDRIES
(Gruenrekorder 2012)

Fancy transporting yourself to the jungles of northern India? Then look no further than ‘Jhirna Jali’, the latest digital release from Gruenrekorder. This compilation of 9 beautiful recordings, made during a field recording trip to the Corbett Tiger Reserve, is just superb. Recordist Peter Caeldries uses his recordings to take us through a day in the life of the Corbett jungle and the experience is one that I would recommend to everyone with a passion for natural soundscapes.

Right from the start, the listener is surrounded by the most incredible sounds. The jungle is alive with the songs and calls of birds that are welcoming in the start of a new day. Close your eyes and you are there.

The second track, ‘Savera’, is pure heaven. For 16 minutes we get to experience daybreak in the reserve. Caeldries writes in the accompanying notes:

“Here the day shines its early light over the slopes and we hear the Grey-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus) across the constant hum of insects. As light begins to settle and the heat of the day announces itself we hear the alarm calls of the Sambar (Rusa unicolor) the large deer that are mostly active at night and during twilight.”

 The recording, along with Caeldries’ rather poetic description, makes me want to pack my suitcase and leave for India right now.

Several recordings focus their attention on environmental sounds such as flowing water and thunderstorms. One of my favourites has to be ‘Badal Garje’. This 6 minute piece gives us the pattering sound of rain set against a backdrop of rolling thunder. Another is ‘Ramganga Mahseer’, a hydrophone recording made in the Ramganga River. The constancy of flowing river is accompanied by the sounds of freshwater fish, thus allowing us to eavesdrop on this usually veiled world.

All too soon dusk begins to fall. The soundscape changes as different species come into voice. ‘Rajani’ opens an acoustic window into this symbolic time of day; while some species are preparing for sleep, others are stirring and getting ready to start their “day”. Birds are gradually replaced by a wall of insects interspersed with the calls of the Oriental Scops Owl and Large-tailed Nightjar.

And just when you thought the content couldn’t get any better, ‘Rana’ comes along. A quiet night time atmosphere featuring trilling insects, a calling nightjar and a group of Skipper Frogs is a perfect way to end this fantastic compilation.

As the name suggests, the Corbett Tiger Reserve is best known for its most famous resident – the endangered Bengal Tiger. Look beyond this majestic figure though and you see that the reserve is also home to a wealth of biodiversity. ‘Jhirna Jali’ is a great ambassador for this incredible reserve, a triumph in the world of field recording and an absolute joy to listen to.

-Cheryl Tipp

Peter Caeldries website
Gruenrekorder website